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Today in Manufacturing

Daily news and top headlines for manufacturing professionals

Robots Replacing Human Factory Workers At Faster Pace

February 10, 2015 9:33 am | by Paul Wiseman, AP Economics Writer | Comments

Cheaper, better robots will replace human workers in the world's factories at a faster pace over the next decade, pushing labor costs down 16 percent, a report Tuesday said. The Boston Consulting Group predicts that investment in industrial robots will grow 10 percent a year in the world's 25-biggest export nations through 2025, up from...

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Breyers Ice Cream Says 'No' To Artificial Hormones

February 9, 2015 5:27 pm | by Kari Imberg, Associate Editor, Food Manufacturing | Comments

In the latest scoop, Breyers ice cream has announced it will stop using any milk or cream from cows treated with the hormone rBST. Recombinant bovine somatoropin, or rBST, is a chemical used in place of the natural growth hormones produced by dairy cows. According to CNN Money, critics say it allows for cattle to develop when...

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Global Watchdog Warns Advanced Economies Slowing Reforms

February 9, 2015 5:19 pm | by Desmond Butler, The Associated Press | Comments

Global growth is threatened by developed countries' flagging efforts to reform their economies, a major international organization warned on Monday. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, a think tank dealing with the world's developed countries, says in a report that the lagging attention to reform...

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Congress To Vote To Repeal NLRB Rule

February 9, 2015 5:13 pm | by The Associated Press | Comments

The Republican-controlled Congress is planning a vote to repeal a National Labor Relations Board rule that revised procedures covering union representation elections. The effort sets up a likely veto clash with the White House. Republicans announced Monday they will employ a little-used law that permits the Senate to repeal...

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West Coast Seaports Fully Reopen As Contract Talks Resume

February 9, 2015 3:28 pm | by Justin Pritchard, The Associated Press | Comments

West Coast seaports fully reopened Monday morning after two days during which no ships were unloaded amid a labor dispute between dockworkers and their employers. The two sides are negotiating a new contract, and bargaining table tensions have spilled over to the waterfront, where cargo is moving far slower than normal through ports...

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Food Scares Take A Bite Out Of McDonalds' Sales

February 9, 2015 3:13 pm | by The Associated Press | Comments

Food-quality scares are hurting McDonald's in China and Japan, where weakness contributed to a key global sales figure falling 1.8 percent. The world's largest hamburger chain said sales dropped 12.6 percent in January at locations open at least 13 months in the division that includes the Asia region. That overshadowed a 0.4 percent rise at U.S. locations...

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Neighboring States Clash On EPA Coal Energy Regulation

February 9, 2015 3:06 pm | by Bridget Bergin, Associate Editor | Comments

Montana and Wyoming, despite having a similar relationship to the coal energy industry, are planning to approach the Clean Power Act from two opposite directions. According to Benjamin Storrow of the Casper Star-Tribune, the EPA’s plan would require both states to meet a carbon reduction target—21% for Montana and 19% for...

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Angry Over Trade, Labor Gets Union-Friendly Pitch From Obama

February 9, 2015 2:23 pm | by Jim Kuhnhenn, The Associated Press | Comments

On a cold overcast morning in January, President Barack Obama briefly delayed his departure for an Iowa day-trip to huddle in the Oval Office with AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka and United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams. The topic was Obama's upcoming State of the Union...

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U.S. Gas Prices Jump 13 Cents A Gallon

February 9, 2015 2:14 pm | by The Associated Press | Comments

The average price of a regular gallon of gas jumped 13 cents in the past two weeks to $2.20, ending a sustained drop. Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg said Sunday that a rebound in the price of crude oil caused the run-up at the pump. However, the price is $1.10 below the mark a year ago, on...

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Technology On The Shop Floor: Empowering Your Manufacturing Team

February 9, 2015 1:53 pm | by Lori Payne | Comments

Operations leaders at small and mid-sized manufacturing companies have no shortage of stress. Much of the burden of bringing in jobs on-time and on-budget falls on you, which explains the thirst for visibility and hawkish attention to detail regarding everything on the shop...

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Strong U.S. Job Growth Is Powered By An Array Of Industries

February 9, 2015 12:28 pm | by The Associated Press | Comments

A broad range of industries propelled U.S. job growth in January, an encouraging sign that the improving economy is permeating nearly all sectors of the economy. Education and health-related employers added 46,000 jobs, professional services 39,000. Over the past 12 months, those two sectors have combined for more than 1.2 million...

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More Americans Are Finally Seeing Something New: A Pay Raise

February 9, 2015 12:01 pm | by Josh Boak, AP Economics Writer | Comments

As the U.S. economy has steadily recovered from the Great Recession, the critical missing piece has been a painful lack of pay raises for many Americans. Their pain may be easing. Friday's jobs report signaled that raises have finally begun to flow through an economy in which, once you factor in inflation, most people earn less than...

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New Catalyst Could Pave The Way To A More Eco-Friendly Fertilizer

February 9, 2015 10:30 am | by Meagan Parrish, Editor, Chem.Info | Comments

Taking nitrogen from the air and converting it to ammonia under natural conditions is a process that has only happened in nature — until now. Scientists from Northwestern University recently became the first to develop a catalyst driven by light that can pull off the feat with no temperatures or pressure...

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Health Care Records Make Fertile Field For Cyber Crime

February 9, 2015 10:24 am | by Tom Murphy, Brandon Bailey, AP Business Writers | Comments

Those seemingly harmless medical forms everyone fills out before seeing a doctor can lead to identity theft if they get into the wrong hands. Names, birthdates and — more importantly — Social Security numbers can help hackers open fake credit lines, file false tax returns and create false medical records. And health care businesses...

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MAPI: Is Cuba Open For Business?

February 9, 2015 10:20 am | by Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI) | Comments

The announcement by President Barack Obama on December 17, 2014 that the icy relations between the U.S. and Cuba may begin to thaw was met with surprise and mixed reactions. What, many asked, will the future hold for tourism, a potential new economic paradigm, and...

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Steelworkers To Expand Strike To Two BP Refineries In Midwest

February 9, 2015 10:17 am | by David Koenig, AP Business Writer | Comments

The first nationwide strike at U.S. oil refineries since 1980 is spreading to two BP plants in the Midwest. The United Steelworkers union has notified BP Plc. that workers at refineries in Ohio and Indiana will strike late Saturday night, joining a walkout that began this week at nine other refineries. A BP spokesman said that the...

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CA Formally Opens Large Solar Plant

February 9, 2015 6:23 am | by The Associated Press | Comments

California is rushing to expand its use of solar power to meet the renewable energy requirements, and one of the nation's largest solar projects will be dedicated Monday in the Riverside County desert. U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is scheduled to join federal and local officials to...

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Report: Automakers Fail To Fully Protect Against Hacking

February 8, 2015 7:29 pm | by Joan Lowy, The Associated Press | Comments

A Senate report says automakers are cramming cars with wireless technology, but they have failed to adequately protect against the real possibility that hackers could use those potential entry points to take control of vehicles or steal personal data. Sen. Edward Markey asked automakers a series...

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SpaceX Calls Off Launch Of Space Weather Satellite

February 8, 2015 6:24 pm | by Marcia Dunn, AP Aerospace Writer | Comments

The SpaceX company has called off Sunday's launch of a deep-space observatory. The countdown was halted at the two-and-a-half-minute mark at Cape Canaveral, Florida, because of a problem with a rocket-tracking system. At the same time, SpaceX was dealing with a rocket issue. SpaceX had been...

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Even As U.S. Job Market Picks Up, Unemployed Face Frustration

February 7, 2015 9:24 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | Comments

The job market remains a frustrating place for America's 9 million unemployed — perhaps more so as hiring has accelerated along with job postings. The pace of job growth over the past three months was the fastest in 17 years. The gains spanned nearly every industry, and some employers have...

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